Setting up a documentation, a very important task
Among the tasks that we assigned to ourselves, in linked to the 25th anniversary of our organization existence, is this of constituting a documentation relative to the volunteer engagement of the Jewish immigrants in the French Army and the Resistance during the WW2. To enlighten their courageous behavior on the fronts, the discrimination they endured in the stalags, etc… The task is very important, because the volunteer engagement of the Jewish immigrants in 1939 show a beautiful page of our history, that should not remain a white page for the future WW2 historians. Shall we forget the military exploits from those who fought on all the sectors of the front? Shall we forget the sufferings and the particular discriminations sustained by our comrades in the stalags just because they were Jewish? Shall we let disappear in forgetfulness the actions of resistance in captivity and in France, the names of those who were knighted, etc. Our organization which, for 25 years, has translated through its actions the deep aspirations of the Jewish veterans, would not miss this duty. The task is not easy: 30 years passed since the engagements, many memories shadowed, many are the comrades who left for ever. But it isn’t too late yet. So, are we calling all our comrades to send us their war souvenirs in any form, their memories in any style . Essential are the facts. Write us also on your friends who fought at your side and and falled in combat or died in captivity. Send us all the names from those your memory has retained. If you cannot write we are ready to collect your testimony at our office. Also will we organize meetings for comrades from the same unit or the same stalags to obtain collective testimonies. We ask to send us interesting original documents that we will return after producing copies. We are calling all our comrades and friends to help us to accomplish this urgent and difficult task.
Published in “Notre Volonté N°2 (64) from March-April 1969
The Committee Director elected at the General Assembly on November 24th 1954
1st rank from left : Najman, Haitman, Sisterman, Klajder, Gromb (Kenig), Cleitman Isi (Blum), Dr. Danowski, Czany, Appel, Pons, Salomon, Herskowicz Sam, Herskowicz Felix.
2nd rank from left : Moresqui, Rechenstein, Beller, Mme Pfefer, Sadowski, Maier, Mme Lilenstein, Miller, Kon, Statman, Garbarz.
3 rd rank from left : Erman, Munsrein, Kristal, Ekman, Dr.Wattengerg, Zajdenwerg, Apelkir, Szraga, Ser, Failovic, Minc, Mme Rozen, Panus.
4th rank from left : Lewinbaum, Urjewicz, Szulc, Zimet, Adler, Korenberg, Wajcman, Frydman.
Also member of the committee : Apelbaum, Bursztyn, Centner, Dorfman, Falinover, Me. Grinspan, Korngold, Lewkowicz, Wildenberg.
The association member's card
The checking of the repatriated POWs
General Assembly of the Union in 1954 for the 10th anniversary of its creation
Thanks to the action of the Union thousands of Volunteers could obtain naturalization, the individual booklet, the combatant card
Meeting organized, on February 20th 1948, Salle Wagram in Paris, by the “Union des Groupements d'Engagés Volontaires et Résistants d'Origine Etrangères (U.G.E.V.R.E.)” against the recrudescence of xénophoby.
The Union participate with the « Fédération des Associations des Anciens Combattants Juifs », to the traditional ceremony of the Flame Flamme at the Arc de Triomphe (1954)
The delegation of personalities of Jewish organizations, led by French deputies, in front of the « Quai d'Orsay » where they have requested from the Foreign Minister the recognition of the the State of Israël (May 27th 1948)
Faithful to the will of our fallen comrades
When our Union was founded, as soon as the enemy was chased from the French soil, it did not only assign to itself the task of helping the Jewish veterans, those from the battlefields and those from the Resistance, to find a normal place in life, to heal their wounds and defend their rights; it also fixed as an objective to fight against all the survivals of racism and anti-Semitism who had caused so many destruction in the countries occupied by the hitlerian forces. The anti-Semitism is an illness that erodes the sane body of a nation, raising citizens ones against the others. That’s why the conscious patriots get angry each time the racists start their sinister job again. The anti-racists and among them the veterans, reacted when Xavier Vallat, former commissaire to the Jewish Affairs under Vichy, was pardoned; they have sued “Aspect de la France” for its anti-Jews odious articles and also Maurice Bardèche who, in his book “Nuremberg or the Promised Land”, made the apology of nazism. Our Union cannot remain indifferent when a Poujade authorized himself to write that not enough Jewish names can be seen on the commemorative stones of our country. We estimated it was our duty not to allow to insult the memory of our heroes who fought for France, and who’s generous blood was poured for their adoptive nation. We estimated it was our duty to defend the honor of our comrades; whether or not their names appears on marble stones, they died though with or without an uniform in order the world and France to be free for ever of racism and free of those who hawk such incitation to hate. That’s why we decided to be part of the trial as a civil party… Our Union, in acting so, is proud to remain faithful to its ideals for which fought and died our comrades. And so again will we act in the future, being convinced that when fighting racism and anti-Semitism we continue serving France and the Republic.
Isi Blum Published in “Notre Volonté" N° 89” December 1962
The Jewish Veterans participate to all gatherings of French veterans united for the defense of their rights: 100,000 former POWs meet in Paris on September 3rd 1949, claiming for their deferred pay and Card of combatant
Grand meeting, organized on September 1951,by the Union to defend the value and permanence of the French citizenship of the nationalized veterans, and request the abrogation of the decree of fall of citizenship that hits volunteer combatant Jacob Gromb, vice-president of the Union.========================================================
Birth of the "Lauriers Roses"
The medical consequences of captivity and deportation has been for long a major preoccupation subject for our organization. Therefore the idea of a social charity to the benefit of our comrades, tired or ill was often talken at the Direction Committee. It took some substance in 1960. A project of the creation of a convalescence home was adopted . The General Assembly approved it. The odds of search took us to Levens in the “Alpes maritimes” (French Riviera). The incomparable panorama on the Alps, the possibility of beautiful walks, the pool, on a rock from which one discovers the sea, the high Alps with snowy summits, made the decision to build our home there… After obtaining with difficulties the authorization from the Public Health Department, we also got the construction permit… The laying of the First Stone was fixed to December 15th 1963. A beautiful ceremony took place that day in Levens. A numerous delegation of our Union with member from paris and province as well made the Journey on site… A reception was granted at the Massena room in the city hall by the Senator-Mayor M. Raybaud. After the friendly banquet the guests went to the estate acquired by the Union, to gather with the delegation from Levens and the Veterans organization from the region. Under the presidency of senator Raybaud and in presence of many officials, M. Paul Manet then president of the UFAC, proceed to the symbolic laying of the First Stone. He uplifted the obstinacy of our Direction Committee… This nice and moving ceremony ended with the lecture by Isy Blum our General Secretary of the parchment, in Frenc and Yiddish, that was sealed in the concrete… Before the opening of the establishment on October 10th and 11th 1964, a delegation of MDs visited the home. The Dr Leibovici related in these terms his impressions:”I had the honor to be invited with the Drs B. Ginsbourg and R. Kohn, to visit the Convalescence home in Levens. It’s a real miracle”… The inauguration ceremonies exceeded the frame of Levens and our Organization. They took place first in Nice on January the 16th 1965 , then on the 17th in Levens. A press conference was given in the very building of the “Lauriers Roses”… The newspaper “Nice Matin” wrote: A building with harmonious and modern lines took place since a few months in the fine landscape of Levens. The UEVACJ has chosen Levens to build a home of rest and convalescence which name already owns a quieting power: “Les Lauriers Roses”… Everything was designed to add to the stay in Les Lauriers Roses the greatest number of charms. The 17th in front of an enthusiastic crowd, took parole successively : Isy Blum, Paul Manet, Senator J. Raybaud, the deputy of Veterans Minister M. Laborde who ended the ceremony by revealing the three colors stone from the « Maison de Repos de Levens Les Lauriers Roses » with the initials of the Union.
Extract from an article “Notre Volonté” February 1965
Creation of the literary prize: Maurice Vanikoff
The annual literary prize Maurice Vanikof will granted the author of a work published during the year, in French or Yiddish, enlightening the contribution of the French Jews and particularly the foreign volunteers or from foreign origin, to the fight against nazism and their contribution to the allies victory.
Article 1: Is created by decision of the Direction Committee, an annual literary prize “Maurice Vanikoff”. This prize will grant 3,000 FF.
Article 2 : This prize will grant each year, the work,artistic, scientific or philosophic which will enlight the fight of the Jews in France against nazism, whether in the army or in the resistance.
Article 3: The candidate will send their work printed or manuscript before January 31st ; the jury will pronounce their choice before the following May 31st.
Article 4: The jury will be composed of writers, veterans and partisans, representing the different opinions of the fighting world . The decision will be taken at the majority.
Article 5 : The Secretary of the Maurice Vanikoff is located at the main office of the Union. The member of the jury are: MM. Jacques Madaule, Président Isy Blum, Henry Bulawko, René Cassin, Dr Samuel Danowski, MM. joseph Fridman, Gromb-Kenig, Bernard Lacache, Pierre Paraf, Jean Pierre-Bloch, Bernard Pons,Maurice Schuster, Me Henri Sloves, M. Pierre Villon
Notre Volonté N°115-october 1967
For the year 1966-1967 the prize was granted to a collective work published by the History Institute from “Yad Vachem” in Israël named “Facing the nazi enemy”. For the year 1967- 1968 it was granted to David Diamant for its manuscript “With or without weapons”. The same year special prize outside the concourse was granted to Gilles Perrault for his work: “L’orchestre rouge”.
We lost a good friend
by Isi Blum
Great specialist of subject on anti-Semitism, Maurice Vanikoff dedicated is all life to gather an important documentation, and anyone who needed an information, a document, an article addressed him. Vanikoff was there to help as soon as he knew that his action might contribute to the fight that was so important to him… One remember his strong action against Maurice Bardèche, for its book that apologizes the nazism, published with the title “Nuremberg or the Promised Land”. One remembers the energy that he deployed in the trial against “Aspect de la France” for its anti-Jewish articles, or even the campaign that he led against “Petit Larousse Illustré” the renowned dictionary who contained definitions rather injurious, or also against Robert Aaron who tried with pseudo historical writings to “whiten” the traitors Pétain and Xavier Vallat. Foreign Volunteer, engaged at the very beginning of the WW1 in 1914, he expressed a deep love for his adoptive country. His father land was France with its noble humanist traditions, and with the same passion he hated the “anti-France” represented by the disciples of Maurras et from “Jeune Nation”. His burning patriotism brought him at the side of those who oppose the resurrection of nazism and who protest against the birth of the new Wehrmacht, at the head of which are many war criminals. President of the Federation des Associations des Anciens Combattants et Volontaires Juifs, Maurice Vanikoff played a major role to maintain the unit between all the associations of Jewish Combatants and Jewish Volunteers, and it’s thanks to him that many campaigns could be led for the defense of the rights of the veterans victime of nazism, against anti-Semitism and racism, against xenophobia and for peace. Maurice Vanikoff had a lot of sympathy for our organization. He appreciated our activity in its multiple domains and did not miss to underline it at various occasions… We have lost with Maurice Vanikoff a great friend, an unreplacable friend.
Texte published in “Notre Volonté”